It’s been over 24 hours since the ill-fated Air India Express flight from Dubai crash-landed at the Kozhikode International Airport on Friday evening. At least 19 people have been killed, and dozens more injured. The flight was part of the Vande Bharat Mission, carrying many who had lost their jobs and whose visas had expired in recent months.
Since Friday evening, details have emerged around the accident, including the identities of the deceased pilots, the location of the black box and the cockpit recordings. As investigations into the tragic incident continue, here’s what has transpired so far:
— At 7.41 pm, an Air India Express aircraft with 190 people on board — 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, four cabin crew and two pilots — crashed while attempting to land at the Calicut International Airport. The airport has a tabletop runway, and the aircraft, while attempting to land, plunged 30 feet and broke into two parts.
— Rescue efforts began shortly thereafter, with the police and fire and rescue force pressed into service, even as the rain continued to pour down on Karipur.
— Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appointed Minister for Local Self Government AC Moideen to oversee relief work.
— By 11.15 pm, the Union Civil Aviation Minister said that the death toll was at 16. This includes the two pilots, Captain Deepak Sathe and First Officer Akhilesh Kumar. By Saturday evening, the death toll was confirmed to be at 19.
— By midnight, locals as well as officials completed the rescue and all passengers caught in the mishap were taken to hospitals in Kozhikode. They were taken to the Baby Memorial Hospital, Aster MIMS, Crescent Hospital, MCH Kozhikode, Meitra Hospital, BEACH Hospital, Red Crescent Hospital and Iqra Hospital. Local residents streamed into hospitals to donate blood for those injured.
— Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences over the mishap, and spoke to Chief Minister Pinarayi to extend the Union government’s assistance. “Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest,” he tweeted.
— At least 19 persons have been reported dead in the accident. The deceased include Captain Deepak V Sathe and co-pilot First Officer Akhilesh Kumar. Captain Deepak was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was a former Indian Air Force who had flown MiG-21 fighter aircraft with 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) in Ambala. First officer Akhilesh passed away, leaving behind a pregnant wife.
— In the wake of the accident, the flight trajectory of the plane showed that the pilots had circled twiced before attempting to land. The flight path can be seen on publicly available flight radars; it shows the flight crossing Karipur Airport, taking a U-turn, heading back to the airport, taking a deviation and then heading out over the Arabian Sea. It then headed back and landed at Karipur.
— The black box from the flight was recovered from the crash site. It will be crucial to the investigation of the incident, in order to understand the timeline of events before the flight accident. The flight data recorder will play an extremely important role.
— Though the two pilots were killed in the crash, the four cabin crew members on board are safe, Air India confirmed on Saturday.
— Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri visited the crash site on Saturday morning. Earlier, he had said that the Centre would launch a probe in order to investigate the cause of the crash.
— Kerala Higher Education Minister KT Jaleel said that one deceased passenger tested positive for the coronavirus. Sources told TNM that three more were suspected to be positive.
— Health Minister KK Shailaja has asked those engaged in rescue operations to report to health authorities, and self-quarantine as a precautionary measure.
— On Saturday morning, Air India Express said that three relief flights had been arranged to Kozhikode in Kerala to assist passengers and their family members.
— The Union government, the state government and Air India Express have announced compensation for victims and injured persons. All three announced Rs 10 lakh each for the deceased. The Kerala government announced that it would take care of the medical expenses.
— The Union government also announced Rs 2 lakh each for those who have suffered serious injuries and Rs 50,000 each for those who suffered minor injuries. Air India Express announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh for passengers below the age of 12, Rs 2 lakh to passengers critically-injured and Rs 50,000 for passengers injured in the incident.